Exit Through the Gift Shop (UK, 2010)

Truth or dare you to believe

It’s rare, in these interconnected days, to watch a something that is you find doubtful and not be able to checik out whether it is true or not. This documentary is about a video-maker (well he videoed but didn’t edit) who becomes the artist Mr Brain Wash (MBW) and produces a hit contemporary art show based on other people creating what he tells them. It all might actually be true… though the idea that a non-artist can manufacture a hit show is surely too ridiculous to be true; or is it?  A cursory delve into the internet was inconclusive: it might be true, it might not.

Whatever, it is entertaining and I liked MBW’s art, much as I like Banksy’s, who’s probably the actual brain behind the film. Just as Banksy’s street art challenges the notions of institutionalised art, this documentary challenges the veracity of documentary. It’s certainly not the first to do so, I was reminded of Welles’ F for Fake (1972), but it makes its point (whatever it is) with elan.


One Response

  1. It was one of my favourite films of last year, Nick. I found it absolutely hilarious and, like you, imagine Bansky is behind the Mr Brainwash art. I’ve taught it as part of the ‘spectatorship and documentary’ unit for A2 film. The students love it and we’ve also made the connection with F is for Fake, which we suspect may have influenced Banksy.

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